Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ghoulie Meal

My Hubs loves to decorate for Halloween. Every year he buys some other kind of decoration for it. This year it's an owl. Last year it was the NOPE spider (As in NOPE, NOT GOING TO THAT HOUSE--THERE'S A TITANIC SPIDER!!!)

The thing is, he gets the decorations going pretty much on Halloween. So for me, October 31 evening is Insane. He always stays home to prey on...I mean scare people spitless and I take our horde and go trunk-or-treating and sometimes the regular kind of house-to-house begging. So with getting everybody in costume and doing the Hubs' last minute deco errands, getting people fed is absolute craziness. 

In years past I've found myself gnawing on the odd 3 Musketeers bar swiped from someone's bag, or something petrified from the fridge, or nothing at all until well after midnight. About four years ago I came up with a better solution. 

The Hands all corpsified and gross


Severed hands. I made them out of meat loaf with hard boiled egg bones. They were such a smash hit with my family that the next year I made hands and feet. There's always a healthy dollop of ketchup 'blood' and pumpkin seed nails. I coat the hands and feet with cheese to make it look like burnt skin.
Ghoulish feet to go with the hands

Last year I tried something even more ghoulish--a severed head. The eyeballs were hard boiled eggs and there was cauliflower for the brains. I had to cook it in two parts so it would cook all the way through (and fit in the oven). It was much harder to make it look like a real head.

This year I'm going to do guts. The heart is going to be interesting trying to make the coating on it look like pericardium, but cheese might work. And I'll need to apply the ketchup with a paintbrush. The main vein might be tough. I figure I'll make the lung with cauliflower for the alveoli...that is, if I have time to get to the store. Otherwise it'll just have to be the outside of the lung. And there'll be sausage kidneys.
Ack! A Weeping Angel!

Okay, so I'm freakishly ghoulish. It's strange to hear my kids say, "Please may I have a pointer finger" or "Please pass the brain." But what can I say? They sit down to eat on Halloween now.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Snow Rising

I just read a remarkable book so profound in its simplicity that it'll not only rock my day, but my life. SNOW RISING is a book I picked up in my favorite local bookstore (Latter Day Cottage) while waiting for my daughter. The pictured mountain and classy cover treatment caught my attention, but the truths inside constituted the real gold and wouldn't let me re-shelve it. 

SNOW RISING is about a man broken and battered by his decisions and failures. He stands at the brink of losing his wife and family. He hates what he has become through poor choices, laziness, and lack of a road map. All his life he reaches for the brass ring on the merry-go-round, thinking that success at any cost will bring him happiness. He has 'things'. He has a measure of what others would term 'success'. And yet he wallows in misery.

He meets a woman who not only guides him to the summit of Mt. Hood, but teaches him the secret to happiness and a lasting peace in life. The book tells the story of that summiting, but more than that, Jason Snow's climb back out of his personal crevasse and into possibility and change.

Four basic principles or axioms make up the building blocks for a happy life. I'll let you read this book to discover them. Suffice it to say that if you adhere to these four, you can make a splash in the pond, the ripples of which will reverberate against incalculable frontiers and affect untold numbers of people.

The principles Matt Baldwin teaches are clean and bright and have intrinsic value for all of us. He lays them out in such a way that I couldn't help lapping them up. I found myself gritting my teeth and holding my breath as the climbers slipped toward the crevasse, trying to arrest their fall. The allegory was not lost on me.

Thank you, Matt, for this map. Thank you for being our mountain guide. What a wise and insightful person you are!

Remember, we choose our beliefs and values, and our actions. The rest are consequences.

Choose this book.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

ANWA Conference!

Hey it's time to sign up for the ANWA writer's conference. I have greatly enjoyed the times I've attended in the past. I've gotten to meet great new friends like James Artimus Owens, Donna King Weaver, and Marsha Ward to name a few. Go to http://anwa-lds.com/conference today and book your place in Writer's Trove. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oh the Carnage

This woman has a long-standing love affair with words. They inspire me, goad me onward, enrage or entrance. I'm always looking for more of them to illustrate my life and the lives of others. Where before I used to use mostly paint to color my world, now I paint more often with words.

I've neglected my journal for the past few years, choosing instead to write novels or blog posts (I write for three blogs including this one, ANWA Founder and Friends, and Mommy Authors) or emails. But I miss being able to go to my journal to prove something. (I've actually used my journal in a court case in the past. It's interesting how much I've forgotten or remember differently.)

So I decided to hunt down my journal and start afresh at filling it with interesting tidbits. I went to the shelf where I normally keep the dusty old thing and surprise, it wasn't there.

A two-week-long odyssey ensued, in which I plundered all my bookshelves (there are many--love affair with words you remember), sacked every corner of my bedroom, pillaged whole dust bunny civilizations, and to L and J's great horror (oh the carnage) changed things around. All in search of the elusive personal history.

No dice.

 Through it all I kept a running commentary with my Heavenly Father, on whom I rely heavily on in these seemingly hopeless situations. After checking the same places dozens of times, my pleading began.

To no avail.

I did, however, find several interesting items (Esmeralda-the-Tooth-Fairy's decaying collection, a hat I'd forgotten about, my knitted doll shirt from my Austrian Auntie) and other more needed things I had been missing for a long time. "Huh! Look at that," I'd say, drawing an interested family member to my side. "My old glasses collection." They'd roll their eyes and escape from the lunatic sporting the layer of dust.

J was utterly horrified that I would move things around in the living room. "Dad will hate what you are doing here." I laughed. "You mean You hate what I'm doing. Come on and help me move this bookcase. Change is good." More eyeball calisthenics. It turned out he liked my moving ideas this time, and even helped me accomplish them.

Still no tome of memory.

Finally, after the dust had settled and several areas of my house were looking chipper with a new location or slightly less dense patina of dust, I ended my travails. It was Sunday, a day of rest and contemplation and I had a conference to watch.

I did, however, want to hang the laundry which I'd washed the day before--basically because when it sits in the basket for a couple of days the clothes begin to smell like sour death and unwashed dog so I have to hose it off. I was just about to hang them when a subtle little voice said to me, "If you don't hang the laundry, you will be blessed." 

Now normally one would think that I was merely advocating personal laziness. It happens now and then. But when this particular indication hits my head, I sit up and listen. I'm making a habit of paying close attention, because more often than not, it's the Spirit communicating, not me.

So I merely took the baskets out to the line and came back in. The conference was starting anyway. I took copious notes until there was a break. I stood up and was going to the kitchen for a snack when I looked over at the shelves on my desk--the ones I'd emptied and checked almost every time I'd passed them.

There it was!

It sat there taunting me with my selective blindness, having been maybe two feet from my face every time I sat in this chair. The absurdity stunned me. All that time I'd spent combing every inch of my house.

I'd been schooled again.

God pays attention to heartfelt prayers, no matter how insignificant or penny ante. He has ways of encouraging us to do things that may stump or annoy us. He uses us to do His work and accomplish things so far afield that we don't understand the reasons.

So now my house is less dusty, more user-friendly, and I have found several other lost items I hadn't been praying about but still needed.

I think I'll wear my black shorts today.